Monday, November 07, 2005

Bush Approaching the Black Hole of Ridiculousness

In defending his vice president's obsession with preserving the right to torture detainees, President Bush today really came close to just completely crossing the line to utter absurdity. (It could be argued, and probably to some effect, that he crossed that line years ago, but set that aside for the moment). Taking questions in Panama, Bush defended the status quo on treatment of prisoners, saying "Our country is at war and our government has the obligation to protect the American people. Any activity we conduct is within the law. We do not torture."

So what, exactly, is the problem with banning the use of "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" punishments?

Bush went on, and "pointedly noted that Congress as well as the White House has an obligation to protect U.S. citizens." Which is exactly what they're doing by passing McCain's amendment. As the senator said in his floor speech last week, passage of the anti-torture language will protect Americans - not only those here at home, but also those fighting overseas. "If we get in another war," McCain said, "and one of our men or women in the armed services is captured, they will be turned over to the secret police because they will use the same rationale that is being argued by the proponents for the continuation of cruel and inhumane treatment and torture, that they have to have this information."

McCain's amendment should and must pass in both the conference committee and in the House. It must reach this president's desk, and so that George W. Bush has to decide whether he wants his first veto (almost sure to be overriden) to be in defense of torture. What a legacy that will be.


At 1:27 PM, Blogger Carol Gee said...

RINO, not only is our current president's so-called rationale ridiculous, it is just crazy-making. My head spins as I hear him argue the obvious, turn logic inside out, and obfuscate to the sky. Let us hope sanity prevails in congress and they rein in this out of control policy. It is a counterproductive path with very high international costs to us. Good posts all.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Walter E. Wallis said...

It is cruel, inhuman and degrading just to jail someone.
My grandson is going back to Fallujah in January. I am confident that nothing I can do will have the slightest effect on the treatment the enemy will give him if he is captured. If embarrasing a prisoner or causing him discomfort will locate a bomb factory of warn of an ambush, torture away. If we cannot interrogate prisoners, then why bother to capture them?

At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Paul Wartenberg said...

"We do not torture"? Then WHY, for the LOVE OF GOD, is Cheney working so damn hard against an anti-tortue law?

This is where the spin is so blatantly a load of (expletive deleted) that you wonder why the Senate doesn't impeach the SOB on the crime of sheer stupidity.

At 4:57 PM, Blogger Phil S said...

To Walter above, I hope your grandson survives his duty in Iraq safely. I agree that interrogation is fine, but we need to be careful not to cross that fine line into torture because 1)that is not part of our American principles, and 2)it doesn't gain any useful info in the first place. McCain knows what he is talking about; and Chaney and Bush don't-and worse, don't care either.

At 1:47 AM, Blogger pacatrue said...

I finally heard the new rationale for why it is important to fight for the right to torture while at the same time declaring we do not torture. Supposedly, it is to keep the threat above terrorists' heads during interrogation. Supposedly, if we spell out in law what we will not do, then the interrogatee knows that the threats are idle. Of course, if Bush' word were worth something, then his declaration that we do not torture should also have the same effect. It's amusing to hear the rationalizations put forward if it weren't for the fact that the lives of American soldiers weren't being risked in the process.

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

One of the right's favorite little tricks is to pretend that when the left talks about "torture" they're talking about nothing more than subjecting prisoners to discomforting situations--as if the only problem is prisoners receiving their dinners late.

This is, of course, a rightwing trick (hell, it's a flat-out lie) meant to distort the truth and paint objectors of torture as weak-willed pansies. But the fact that McCain and many of his fellow Republicans are also concerned about the use of torture (real torture) shows that this is not just some liberal overreaction but is a real concern.

The fact is, in the war on terror, we have crossed the line on more than one occassion--this is not a matter of just subjecting prisoners to discomfort. We have subjected them to torture. Whether this has all been jest the actions of some "bad seeds" or whether the use of torture is a strategic choice by administration officials, I don't know. But I do know that it has happened enough times and in enough prisons that a reasonable person could believe that it is sanctioned by our government.

For Congress to stand up and proclaim that American values do not include the torture of our enemies is very much the right thing to do. To argue otherwise is absurd. And to pretend like our greater interests are somehow advanced by the use of torture is worse than absurd. It's morally abhorrent.


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